Monday, August 20, 2007

Quick! Duck! Or Go As The Crow Flies!

I'm going to apply to whomever one should apply to, to get funding for research! In the weekend papers I read about a research being done in Britain and New Zealand using crows as the subjects, to discover the depth of the crows' intelligence. I could have told the university scientists for half the price!

I was readying myself to return to work for the evening shift one afternoon, when I was living and working in Gympie before my move to Mount Tamborine. Any meat scraps from the restaurant kitchen in which I cooked, I'd bring home for my family of free, native birds. My backyard soon became the neighbourhood eatery for kookaburras, magpies, butcher-birds and, of course, a couple of crows stood by as sentries. Glancing out my bathroom window this particular afternoon, I noticed a crow swoop down to scoop up a huge bundle of meat in its beak.

I called out to him, "You're being greedy! You'll never get off the ground with that load!"

Ignoring my words, of course, to my surprise he cruised to the boundary fence where he proceeded to bury his load, covering it over with some dead grass. He then flew back, picked up more meat in his beak and flew off to wherever his home was, no doubt to feed its young. The crow obviously buried the meat for safe-keeping and it would come back for it at a later time....amazing nature. That was pretty smart, cluey thinking, I thought.

On the subject of food, I'm having a couple of friends over for lunch this Saturday week. I'm planning to serve Prawn and Avocado Salad as an entree, to be followed by honey/soy/hoisin duck. I've not decided on the dessert as yet. I've still time up my sleeve to come up with an idea or two.

Prawn & Avocado Salad

1 lb cooked medium sized prawns,remove tails

1 medium sized tomato, seeded and chopped
3 shallots chopped
1 large clove garlic, pressed
2 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 large firm avocado cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoon chopped pumpkin seeds (roasted pinenuts or nuts of choice...optional)
1 tablespoon chopped rocket or watercress
salt & pepper to taste
pinch red pepper flakes
1 head small Cos lettuce, outer leaves removed
extra virgin olive oil to taste

Make sure shrimp is completely unfrozen, if you buy it already cooked, and patted dry with paper towels.
Assemble all ingredients with shrimp in a bowl except lettuce and mix. For optimum flavor, marinate in refrigerator for 15 minutes or more. It is still very good served right away if you don't have the time. Serve on bed of chopped romaine lettuce.
Serves 4

Soy, Hoisin, Honey Duck

Combine soy sauce, hoisin sauce, brown sugar, crushed garlic and some Chinese Five-Spice powder in a jug. Stir until well combined. Place a duck in a large bowl and pour over the soy mixture. Cover and marinate in fridge, preferably overnight.

Pre-heat oven to around 200C. Place drained duck, breast side down on rack in baking dish, reserving marinade. Place marinade in a small saucepan and bring to the boil over med-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Place 2 6cm cinnamon sticks in duck cavity. Brush the duck evenly with the marinade. Cook in pre-heated oven for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 180C. Turn duck over and sprinkle breast evenly with salt. Cook, brushing occasionally with the pan juices, for a further 55 minutes or until the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced with a skewer.


  1. Ahh, I love duck. Looks devine.

  2. Regrettably Mrs N. is a bit 'thing' about what animals can be eaten and which ones deserve to miss the menu. Duck is on the prohibited list.

    And me, eat prawns? What do you think I am, a cannibal?

  3. Me, too, Corn Dog.

    j cosmos newbery...I'm sorry Donald is prohibited...I'll have an extra slice for you! ;)

  4. Mmmm...! Looking forward to having Peking Duck in...Beijing? next year. Is it Beijing Duck now? Whatever, I'm looking forward to it!

  5. Last night I finished my comment to you with "now I've got to send this comment before the thunderstorm that is approaching covers up the satellite connection." guess what... it was too late.
    So, The crow sounds like a smart one OR maybe he was affraid it would begin to smell the place up if it layed in the open too long.
    And about your food, when a house becomes available in our neighborhood I'll let you know. We'll move you in and can call Marilyn and I over for dinner and you won't have to describe it to me over the net. Another mouth watering blog Lee.

  6. the duck looks great!.. I can't remember the last time I had duck.. wow.. that's a forgotten memory! lol

  7. lee
    I have tried to think up a good research plan. Maybe we could get funds to research researchers or better still Advistory Committees.

    They should have just read "The Raven" Edgar knew those birds were smart "nevermore".

    Food looks and sounds great. You will probably come up with some SINFUL dessert.

  8. So lee, did you ever eat crow rather than duck? ;-)


  9. You could peek in while in Beijing, or you could duck in for a while, Lee.

    Now that would save me a lot of typing, Cliff! ;)

    Well, you're going to have to go out and buy yourself a duck to cook next weekend, Deslily!

    So true, Lady Di. Nothing like a good Edgar Allen Poe tale to get one in the mood! I'm tossing up between a few different desserts at the moment...I'll let you know when I make my decision!

    I try not to do or say anything that makes me have to eat crow, Rel! ;)

    Thanks for your comments, one and all. :)

  10. Lee, you should definitely get research funding! Wonderful pics and recipes again - the duck has me so hungry!

  11. I agree totally, Welsh...about the funding and the duck! ;)

  12. Hi Lee,

    Tried leaving comments twice. No joy. let's see if this posts.

  13. Duck, roasted, is in my immediate future. Yummm!

  14. That's strange you couldn't post, Marc. Blogger must be playing games as it is sometimes prone to do. Nice to see you. :)

  15. Too bad I'm going to miss this lunch. It looks pretty good to me.

    We love our crows here, or ravens. Very sacred to the native population.

  16. I love crows and ravens, too, jmb...they're a very intelligent bird. They are much maligned by many but they only do what comes natural to them. I have a couple that hang around here and they have very good manners. :)

  17. mmmm, I love duck.

    Yesterday I heard about a research study that had concluded that people with breathing difficulties who got to the hospital quickly did better than those that didn't get to the hospital quickly. And people get paid to find that out!!!

  18. lol...see what I mean, Liz! There's money for us to be made here! ;)

  19. I read somewhere that crows are among the smartest of birds. They're seldom fooled by scarecrows. But I saw a hawk recently fly off with a crow in its grasp just recently in our subdivision. So they may be quick mentally, but not so quick otherwise.

  20. Hi Dave...well, up against a hawk or eagle, I guess the former two would have the upper hand (or wing)...but crows are pretty canny and pretty quick. When have you ever seen a crow as 'road-kill'...they move pretty quickly if a human approaches them bearing a weapon. A crow wouldn't be a hunters favourite prey. ;)

  21. You are a breath of fresh air!
    I have added a link to your Blog for my quickly growing family of kids, grand kids great grand kids and all my cousins and their families.
    williebill72, williebill73 and williebill74. (blogs)
    Don't be so hard on yourself sometimes. "every day above ground is a wonderful day" My GGGfather!

  22. This all sounds so good! The only time I tried to fix duck, about 30 years ago, it was so fatty. I ordered a turducken for Christmas once. A turky stuffed with a duck, stuffed with cajun spices. My entire extended family hated it.

  23. Lee, Crow tastes awful, believe me.
    When I took survival training they warned us not to eat crow unless it was a life or death situation. I believe the experts. That is where the " you will eat crow" saying came from many years ago.

    On the subject of crows, my Dad told us about a pet crow his family had while he was growing up. He claimed it was smarter than his hounds. It would wait on the window sill, looking inside at dinnertime. When someone walked toward the door, the crow would see if they were carrying leftovers. If so, it would fly over and get the dogs all riled up and fly around the yard, then back to the front door to get first dibs on the treats. He said that the dogs never figured it out, although they did catch him (her) a couple of times.

    The dogs never did bite to kill, and the crow complained for an hour or so about the hound dog slobber. Absolutely cracked me up to hear him tell it.

  24. G'day Willie...welcome to my blog. Thanks for commenting...don't be a stranger. :)

    When you're preparing duck, AW...prick the skin (not the flesh)..and the fat will come out during cooking. Render the fat and use it for roasting potatoes etc., as it is excellent for that purpose. :)

    Hey...that's a funny story, Marc! Thanks for sharing! :)

  25. I think crows are very intelligent birds and also rather handsome, too. I can't understand how some people hate them so much...I think they must be afraid of something in their own psyches...or something.

    I'm not a fan of duck, I'll eat chicken and a little bit of turkey, but that's it. As for prawns...well, that's a different matter entirely...I loooooove prawns, actually I love most seafod.

    Your friends are certainly lucky to have you as a friend, Lee. All those lovely meals...

  26. It gives me a good excuse to prepare something special, Robyn...I couldn't be bothered going to all the fuss just for myself. It's more fun when I've got a couple of folk to share it with. :)

    I think crows are very handsome birds, too.

  27. Hi Lee ~~ I hope you and your friends enjoy your Saturday lunch. I had an
    experience with a crow years ago when I was driving - there was a dead crow on the road and his mate I presume,
    standing by. I hate crows with a passion, but thought -well he is upset about his mate - but MO - he
    was eating it. I know they are scavengers, but they peck the eyes out of lambing ewes and take small
    chickens. Thanks for your comments and sympathy on the loss of my friend. Take care, Lee,Love, Merle.

  28. Do us humans do less than what crows do to others, Merle? I guess they are doing what nature tells them to do. Survival of the fittest. Life can be cruel.

    Have a great weekend. :)

  29. Sunny that Avacado & Prawn spree described sounds HEAVENLY!

    "serves 4" my hind foot! - I'd eat it all! hehehehehehe

  30. I'm a bit like that when it comes to seafood, too, Katfish! Hehehe! Good to see you in here. Don't be a stranger and do pop by more often. I'll throw a prawn on the barbie for you! ;)